Friday, May 22, 2009

Summer Fun


We thought it was time to start thinking about activities for the EmDes kids to enjoy while the 'big' people do their thing.

Besides the standard indoor activities...we will now have several fun water sprinkler toys up and running as well as a variety of super-soakers, a sand box set up (in the shade) complete with all manner of pails, shovels and other sand toys. A super cool bubble making machine will be pumping out scads of awesome bubbles of all sizes too! Of course the trampoline is always available. Our pool will remain off limits and locked during outside play.

Please consider having your children wear swimsuits and/or bring a change of clothing and a towel if you prefer they go home 'dry'.

Look forward to seeing you Sunday...same time...same place.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Books, Books, and some Rob Bell

Well it seems we are coming to the time to discuss what our next book will be! There were two suggestions raised at yesterday’s gathering.

The first is So You Don’t Want to Go To Church Anymore by Wayne Jacobsen and Dave Coleman:

If you recognize those names, it's because these are the guys who brought us The Shack. The book uses a fictional plotline to make some really important points about our attitude towards church. (I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes I find myself with a bit of a ‘tude towards church, and I could use some healthy corrective). It really explores house churches and other offshoots of traditional congregations, and uses the character’s struggles to help us see some benefits and pitfalls of non-traditional church communities.

The second suggestion is the book A Deadly Misunderstanding by Mark Siljander.

Siljander is a former Republican, uber-Religious Right congressman that had a huge change of heart about the world when he started really exploring the Muslim/Christian divide. He talks about his work in the Middle East, as well as his attempt to clear up a lot of misunderstandings (deadly ones, hence the title, get it? =b) about the Muslim faith, and the stereotypes that they have about us. It’s a great gateway sort of book, because it really gets us talking and thinking about how our stereotypes of other people and other religions is often as inaccurate as theirs are about us. It’s a great reminder to get us to treat others as members of a common humanity.

Anyway, I’ve got to say, I’ve read both of the books and they’re pretty awesome. If anyone has any other suggestions for great group reads, then by all means throw your hat in the ring! Just leave a comment on this post. We still have several more weeks of Jesus for President, so we have some time to decide.

Also, (last thing! I promise!), yesterday in talking about creative nonviolence in Shane’s book, I mentioned that I have a sermon series done by Rob Bell a few years back called “Calling all Peacemakers” that is pretty mind-blowingly awesome. I’ll put it on my USB and bring it to the post-Memorial Day gathering, but in the meantime if you like you can play them online if you follow the links below, or you can buy the series at the Mars Hill website. Put them on your iPod, listen to them in your car, at the gym, folding laundry or whatever – they’re some of the best teachings I’ve heard on articulating a Jesus-like viewpoint towards creative nonviolence. (Plus, Rob is funny and entertaining. And very, very smart.)

Again- comment if you have a book suggestion!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Some great discussion


I really enjoy how Jonathan Brink simply frames emergence as a conversation. Specifically how important having conversation can be, and why many of us are drawn to it. It is not always useless rhetoric, though it can digress to that. It is ....

"rather .... a Sacred journey towards the Divine, towards the One we know as “The Word”. In our talk, we may be frivolous, we might be deceitful, we can technically “use the medium of language”, but ultimately all Conversation has the potential of drawing all things towards God."

(I didn't have time to get into the 100+ comments that follow these two posts, so beware on that front)

Check them out:

Inclusion (1st post)
Exclusion (follow up post)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Recap 5.03.09

     Adam shared with us a bit of his story, and how he and Tara came to be on this journey.  It had been on his and Tara's heart to go see, hear and taste what extreme poverty actually is.  While in Addis Ababa, Ethiopa, among the places they went was a church service for those dying of AIDS.  Those running the service would care for those in need and give them a place to worship in their final hours.  Needless to say this was a life changing experience.  This was contrasted later with a mega-church service here in the valley (we'll allow it to remain nameless) in which the happy parishioners were cheering the pastor as he revved his Harley Davidson down the aisle and up onto the stage as a sermon intro.  This could be a place marked as the beginning of a change for the Bams...

(Adam and Tara, for me to sum up the depths your experience(s) in a few lines is impossible.  Please edit away, or feel free to write "not endorsed by the Bams" in the comments.)

Adam then read to us from pages 136-138 in Shane's book, as a new perspective, or rather a big picture view of the great commission.

In light of some of the points brought up in Jesus for President, the pledge of allegiance was mentioned as a little more difficult to swallow for some of us, especially those of us who have children and are wondering just exactly what it is that we want them to value.  Isn't it the people who make a country, not the country that makes the people?

As we take another hard look at becoming the church we want, becoming the people we want to become, we ask "how"?  Yet in regards to what we "haven't" done, or to respond to our own critiques that say we are all talk and no action, we discussed the following.

I'm not sure who brought it up, but I believe it was Ron.  Yeah you Ron.  Here's the idea: no, we're not yet satisfied with where we are, and arguably we may never be.  However, if we look back at ourselves 5 years ago (more or less for some of us), we can see that many things have changed.  Some things have changed dramatically.  We should not discount that this is in fact a journey, and it will be comprised of many single steps, not a small number of giant leaps.  As I type this my own impatience is becoming all too apparent.  I like big leaps.

Well, I hadn't been made aware of this about myself at the time, so I pressed on.  My thoughts were these: We look at those who are examples of drastic change, such as Shane C.  We usually respond with "I'm not going to make my own clothes or give my house to the poor so.....what can I do?"  And yet I feel that if are ever going to be able (read: willing) to give our houses to the poor were going to have to start somewhere.  So here's the question: where is a happy medium between changing the source of our coffee from *unknown to *freetrade, and giving away every possession we have?  Can we drum up some creativity to find that middle ground?  By the way, I think we all need to become very aware of what we buy, why, where it comes from, and who it affects.  That said, I don't believe stopping there will satisfy what it is we're longing for.

Some ideas that came up...

  • Jim suggested that we consider starting a neighborhood Laundry Love project in Mesa.  This would be very cool: hanging out together, making new friends, and extending our love to those who need it.  Check out the link - it's all sorts of good stuff.  At this point we're just looking to see if somebody would like to kick it off.  Are you that person?  (I should go into recruiting, that was powerful)

  • Sarah mentioned a friend of theirs who is a pastor and is experiencing some heart-ache from the decision to leave his church.  Sarah said they are going to try and be there for him and support him through this time of transition. 
    • This kicked off a discussion about how pastors in many church contexts can be very overworked and under-appreciated.  Yet while they need support, they may not be able to be supported by staff or laity because of the nature of the job, and the way you should "appear" to your congregation (I could type a novel about this, but I shan't).  Jamie suggested there could be an opportunity here to serve those working in the church.  I wonder: is this a hint of what it could look like to have a positive and mutually beneficial connection between the emerging church and the institutional church?  I dream I dream....
  •  Mr. Grzecka suggested as a group we look at an Amor Ministries (or similar) weekend trip.  That would also be way cool.
  •  Another good idea is one that Tara brought up (years?) ago.  I think it fits into the question of what things we can do to live differently, yet not scary differently.  A simple (online?) way of sharing resources among the group.  Those items that we would be willing to let someone borrow we could have on a list, and basically could be able to say what's mine is yours.  Tara, do you care to extrapolate, or have you modified the idea at all since way back when?
      I think that's a pretty good start.  Any other ones?  Comments?  Longest recap post in the history of ever?  Peace out...